Casting : Beach Bomb

Years of Production:

1969 - 1971

Country of Origin:

Hong Kong

Casting Variations:

Side Loading version is the normal production version
Rear Loading version is considered "preproduction"

Paint Colors and Variations:

Green common
Blue common
Red uncommon
Olive uncommon
Purple uncommon
Copper uncommon
Light green
hard to find
hard to find
very hard to find

Interior Colors:

Dark and Off White


The Volkswagen Beach Bomb is one of the most popular redline era Hot Wheels cars. It came in a variety of HK colors with both
dark and light interiors. The blister pack also included a "hippy flower power" decal sheet. The surfboards have been reproduced.
Information on the pre-production Rear Loading Beach Bomb is included after the production version.

Normal Production Side Loading Beach Bomb

The normal production Beach Bomb has the surfboards mounted in side pods. The top is a very large sun roof. The glass is tinted
blue. Made only in Hong Kong, most Beach Bombs have bearing type wheels, although later production cars have cap-style wheels.

Light and Dark Interiors

The light interior tends to be less common and more popular but rainbow collectors must have both.

An impressive rainbow of Beach Bombs!

The colors of the Beach Bomb exhibit a considerable range of shades which makes for great rainbow opportunities.

Rose Beach Bomb

One of the hard to find colors of the Beach Bomb.

Another nice group of Beach Bombs!

Rear Loading Beach Bomb

1968 Volkswagen T2 Micro-Bus vs. the Pre-Production Hot Wheels Beach Bomb

The original Hot Wheels version of the Beach Bomb was based on the second generation ("T2") of the Volkswagen "Type 2" vehicle,
also known as the "Transporter", "Kleinbus" or more commonly as simply the "VW Bus". The Type 2 was first introduced in 1950, and
production of the T2 version was initiated in 1968. Whereas the first generation T1 vehicle was characterized by a V-shaped front end
with a large"VW" symbol, the T2 version had a more squared front end with twin vertical louvered vents.

The Beach Bomb started out as a reasonably accurate representation of the 1968 bus. Larger fender openings and a higher stance are
notable features and the signature California Styling of the twin surfboards sticking out of the back window make is a true "Beach Bomb".

According to Jack Parker, who was the chief engineer at the time, the Beach Bomb was prepared for production at the Hong Kong
plant when his team discovered that the bus was too narrow to be "engaged" by the foam rubber wheels of the new "Supercharger"
accessory. Furthermore, the narrow width and high center of gravity of the car made it unstable on the orange track and it easily
"wiped out"! From the perspective of the Marketing department, these characteristics were fatal flaws as the Super Charger was
to be a very important part of the 1969 product line, the centerpiece of many new track sets. Since all new castings had to work
with the Super Charger, a telex was immediately dispatched to HK, halting production after only a single shift of production.

The redesign process resulted in a few "transitional" versions, but all of the production parts located in HK were destroyed and
only the original sample and test pieces that were in the Mattel offices could have survived. According to the extensive research
conducted by a well known collector, only 41 examples of the true Rear Loading Beach Bomb remain and less than five of the redesign
process transitional pieces are known.

Original and Redesigned Beach Bomb

The side pods were added to the casting to widen its shape allowing it to be "engaged by the Super Charger. To improve the stability,
the base was redesigned to include a center weight and the metal in the top was greatly reduced, significantly lowering the center of gravity.
The interior was redesigned to remove the slots that received the surfboards.

Rear Loader vs. Normal

The sun roof opening was modified to encompass nearly the entire roof. the glass is always blue tint.

Rear Loader vs. Transitional vs. Normal

The widening of the base and addition of the large square counterweight are the two most notable differences.
Made only in Hong Kong, most Beach Bombs have bearing type wheels, although later production cars have cap-style wheels.

Rear Loaders vs. Transitional vs. Normal (Courtesy of M. Otte)

Even the Rear Loaders have some variation, most noticeable in the rear engine cover.

Transitional Beach Bomb vs. Production

Some details of the Rear Loader made it to the transitional body but did not make it to production. Note the differences in the
roof pillars. This transitional piece also has large rear wheels, similar to the blue one in the 1970 catalogs.

Three Rear Loading Beach Bombs (Courtesy of B. Rosas)

The Rear Loader is known in at least 10 different colors with Green and Red as the most prevalent.

Bruce Pascal's First Pink Rear Loader

This transitional piece was originally unearthed by Chris Marshall and was later sold to Bruce Pascal. The contacts Bruce made
the purchase paid handsome dividends over the years, leading him to many other employee collections.

Bruce Pascal's Second Pink Rear Loader

This beauty has changed hands twice since it was found. The last sale is documented to be the most ever paid for a Hot Wheels car.

!!!!!!! CAUTION !!!!!!!

The Rear Loading Beach Bomb has been reproduced on a large scale

Initially, a few skilled customizers, such as Jeff Schlicht, would disassemble, cut and modify a standard issue Beach Bomb,
creating a reasonable facsimile of the actual RLBB. In 2001, a commercial reproduction appeared, made by a company called
Brightvision. They produced two versions, each with two base variations: blank and text. The BV rear loaders are well made
but have key attributes to distinguish them from original RLBB's. Later, another commercially produced version, that was a
copy of the BV appeared, commonly known as the S.A.L. version. The SAL reproduction is of lesser quality then the Bright vision
and has many attributes that distinguish it from the BV version as well as the real Rear Loading Beach Bomb.

Links to more information on the Rear Loading Beach Bomb

For the story of the Pink rear Loading Beach Bombs, refer to Bruce Pascal's Red Line Prototypes website.

For more some very detailed information on the Rear Loading Beach Bomb, refer to Mike Otte's website.

For information on the BrightVision replica Rear Loading Beach Bombs BrightVision's website.

Photo and info credits: Photo and info credits: Mike Otte, Bruce Pascal, Dean Foyle, Ted Gray, Rick Wilson, Bob Rosas


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